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Current Affairs

My Hidden Camera Can Beat Up Your Hidden Camera

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via Fark and the Denver Post:

The ABC affiliate (Denver channel 7) planned to use money and hidden cameras to research whether Martino, who appears regularly on Fox-31 News, takes payments to endorse products and services. Martino fought back with a similarly surreptitious tactic: his own hidden camera.

Channel 7 initially asked a Denver businessman for help with its report. At Martino's behest, the man on Wednesday secretly taped the journalists as they outlined their proposed investigation.

Discussion Topic: Mainstream journalism today is nothing more than an elaborate, expensive, destructive and tedious game of "gotcha." Arguments for? Against?


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Memorial Day is about remembering. Remembering our honored dead, those who died in battle. At the same time, I think it is right and appropriate to remember those who served to protect those of us who didn't.

My father served in World War II. He was in Burma as a combat engineer. He had many stories, some he wrote down, fewer he shared with me, his youngest son. The most memorable one he told me concerned digging latrines in Burma.

He wasn't a "hero" in the sense that he charged into battle to save comrades (or maybe he did--like I said, he didn't share all of his stories.) But he served, he did his duty. He helped save the world, by digging latrines.

He came home, raised a family, surveyed dams and power lines, designed irrigation systems. He served, he did his duty.

This weekend, Memorial Day weekend, he is remembered.

I miss you, Dad.

Disobey Authority

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From Wired:

For more than four years - steadily, seriously, and with the unsentimental rigor for which we love them - civil engineers have been studying the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, sifting the tragedy for its lessons. And it turns out that one of the lessons is: Disobey authority. In a connected world, ordinary people often have access to better information than officials do.

Here's the report itself:
Occupant Behavior, Egress, and Emergency Communications

Constitution Day, Sept. 17

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Schools ordered to observe ‘Constitution Day’

A sad commentary on the state of public education, when schools have to be ordered to teach the U.S. Constitution.

They certainly aren't doing it very well on their own.

Before those of you in the education establishment go ballistic, this idea comes from former KKK member Senator Robert Byrd, proving again that even a broken clock is right twice a day.

The truth is that schools should be teaching the Constitution daily, not one day a year. But, it's a start.

Filibuster Followup

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We have a Compromise!

Democrats agree not to filibuster except in "extraordinary circumstances." Nice. Everyone knows that "extraordinary circumstances" to the Democrats include the existence of a Republican President and Republican majority Senate, which the Democrats have already made abundantly clear that they consider to be illegitimate and not representative of the actual will of the people.

Just watch. We'll be right back here as soon as the first Supreme Court nominee comes up. On the up side, the Republicans have now utterly enraged their conservative base with this compromise. Oh, this isn't done by a long shot.

Filibuster, anyone?

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Tony Snow makes a couple of points about the filibuster folderol:

There is no Senate rule governing the proper uses of the filibuster. None. This means there is no rule to break or change. Instead, senators traditionally have relied on a quaint little thing called trust.
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Virtually every filibuster in American history was employed for one reason only — to hold back the tide of history and to frustrate the clearly expressed will of the people. Senate Democrats filibustered the Civil Rights Act because they wanted to preserve Jim Crow. Individual senators have filibustered for causes as idiotic as preventing the government from cutting out a sweetheart subsidy for a business owned by a senator’s friend. Here’s a challenge for historical nerds in the audience: Name one filibuster conducted in order to advance a noble purpose. Jimmy Stewart’s performance in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” doesn’t count.

The long and short of it is that the "Democrats" want to subvert majority rule, a highly ironic stand given their party's name. They seek to regain power simply by wishing away the past few elections. Therefore, W didn't get elected ("selected, not elected--twice!") and the Republicans don't really have majorities in the Senate and the House ("our Senators represent more people than your Senators therefore 45 is greater than 55!!").

It would be laughable if it weren't so potentially dangerous.

Red Cross Commits Verbal Atrocity

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The International Committee of the Red Cross thinks that the U.S. is as bad as Nazi Germany.

From a Wall Street Journal editorial(registration required):

According to a Defense Department source citing internal Pentagon documents, the ICRC team leader told U.S. authorities at Camp Bucca: "You people are no better than and no different than the Nazi concentration camp guards." She was upset about not being granted immediate access shortly after a prison riot, when U.S. commanders may have been thinking of her own safety, among other considerations. . . . We are trying to understand how a representative of an organization pledged to neutrality and the honest investigation of detainee practices could compare American soldiers to the Nazi SS. And considering the timing and content of several ICRC confidentiality breaches concerning the U.S. war on terror, it's fair to ask if similar views aren't held by a substantial number in the organization.

You know, not everyone who is detained by the U.S. is an innocent. Those who choose to operate outside international law and fundamental (i.e. Western) notions of human decency, like Muslim terrorists and their collaborators do, should not be allowed to expect protection by that law. They are not "insurgents," "freedom-fighters," "rebels," or "opposition forces." They are criminals, brigands, bandits, outlaws, crooks, thugs, fanatics, gangsters, marauders, pirates, punks. Terrorists.

The ICRC fatally damages their credibility by holding that "illegal combatants" are equivalent to, and have rights equal to, lawful prisoners of war.

Maybe the ICRC (not to be confused with the American Red Cross) is confused by the vaguely similar helmets of the Third Reich and the U.S. Military. They certainly have never heard of Godwin's Law. Or possibly, Reductio ad Hitlerum is more appropriate here.